Temple Mount initiative unearths rare seal dating back to King David-era

The rare seal uncovered by the Temple Mount Sifting Project. Credit: Temple Mount Sifting Project.

(JNS.org) A rare stone seal that is believed to date back to the periods of King David and Solomon in the 10th century BCE was recently uncovered by a 10-year-old Russian boy and deciphered by experts. 

The limestone seal features two crude engravings of animals possibly representing a predator and prey, according to Dr. Gabriel Barkay, one of the co-founders of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, which sorts through rubble that was illegally excavated during the construction of the Marwani mosque in 1999.

Barkay said the seal highlights “the administrative activity which took place upon the Temple Mount during those times.”

“The dating of the seal corresponds to the historical period of the Jebusites and the conquest of Jerusalem by King David, as well as the construction of the Temple and the royal official compound by his son, King Solomon,” said Barkay. “What makes this discovery particularly significant is that it originated from upon the Temple Mount itself.”

The Temple Mount Sifting Project, which operates under Bar-Ilan University and is supported financially by the City of David Foundation, has also uncovered hundreds of pottery shards dating back to the 10th century BCE, including a rare arrowhead made of bronze. 

“Since the Temple Mount has never been excavated, the ancient artifacts retrieved in the Sifting Project provide valuable and previously inaccessible information,” Barkay said. “The many categories of finds are among the largest and most varied ever found in Jerusalem.”

Posted on September 24, 2015 .